With so many people leading busy, sometimes hectic lives that revolve around work, kids, social functions, and other obligations, it's often very difficult for co-op, condo, and HOA administrators to find residents willing and able to serve their community as board members.
Board members are unpaid volunteers, and the job can sometimes seem like a thankless task—but having a complete, competent, committed board is crucial to running a solvent, functional building or association. Let’s look at what buildings are doing to attract new board members—and retain them once they're appointed or voted onto the board.
Assessment: What Makes a
Good Board Member
“It’s difficult to find the right people to serve on boards,” says Ellen Kornfeld of The Lovett Group, a property management firm in College Point, New York, “and it’s also hard to get certain board members off the board.”
Harry Fischer, managing member of Executive Quality Property Management LLC in Marlboro concurs with both of those points. “Some of the trouble with finding quality board members is the fact that, in many cases, it's difficult to drive attendance at board meetings when things are going well in a community,” he says. “Attendance tends to spike when there's a controversy or a problem. When those factors are off the table, people are less interested."
Also, because there are no term limits levied on board members in New Jersey, some members act as de facto permanent institutions. “There's no law that requires board members to step down or abdicate their positions,” says Fischer. “Unless an association enacts an amendment to create a limit, they're not in place. And then you have some board members that serve year after year—either because they're civic-minded and no one else is coming along, or, on the negative side, because they're a bit power hungry and get off on being in control, only to become jaded.”